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The "Neustadt", Europe's biggest Wilhelminian style quarter
The Neustadt is the cultural centre of Dresden. You won't find as many clubs, event-locations, pubs, street art etc. anywhere else in Dresden. Particularly in the summer, many visitors and residents simply sit out on the sidewalk drinking and chatting. It's a colourful mixture of different philosophies of life and ways of living where punks still live side by side with lawyers. Life continues to be played out and celebrated on the street here, especially during our neighbourhood festival, the "Colourful Republic of the Neustadt", or BRN, in the middle of June.
90% of the buildings seen today originate from the period around the turn of the 20th Century – it is the largest Wilhelminian style district known in Europe. World War II damaged this area too, but not as badly as the city-centre. This is why the name is confusing, the New Town is actually one of the oldest parts of Dresden.
The Neustadt was by no means appealing during the GDR period. Hardly any apartments had a bath and the toilet was usually outside the apartment. Burning coal was the main source of heating. The disintegration of the Neustadt both in a physical and in a social sense however, did not just produce negative consequences. A vacuum, or 'head space', emerged for marginal groups and people that had problems with the GDR-regime. A space for unconventional life-styles existed in the Neustadt. The new inhabitants who moved into the Neustadt were mainly young people, students and artists, who acquired empty flats and became squatters. Due to these groups the area developed a new image: the Bunte Neustadt (bunt = colourful) was born, an image that is still alive.
The "Wende" had a significant effect on nearly all of the inhabitants of the Neustadt. This was due to not only the political dimension, but more the uprising of a utopia, a collectively borne feeling: together we are strong and can achieve something, anything is possible. This hope and, what is apparent in retrospect, this illusion, released a formidable energy.
The year 1990 can be seen as the pivotal year for the ensuing developments of the Neustadt. Never before and never again has there been such a widespread feeling of freedom experienced. Projects, pubs and initiatives mushroomed everywhere. There was nobody there to weed it out any more. This absence of any authority was savoured to the utmost.
The Neustadt exudes a certain allure to investors due to prime location and charming old construction. In 1991 the Neustadt became an official area for redevelopment. Since then it has been transformed from grey dreariness into a popular residential neighborhood due to its central location and solid construction.
This resulted in the decline of squats, illegal lodgers and pubs and a rise in anti-graffiti campaigns; a diversity of pubs, that is unparalleled in Germany; and little elegant and expensive clothes shops, etc.
Whoever decides to stay with us should be aware, that this neighborhood is the liveliest in Dresden. That means that on the one hand, all kind of pubs and possible entertainment are just outside our door. On the other hand, that means that at night, a certain amount of noise level toleration may be required, because people in pubs and out on the street do not like to whisper.